Budget 2021-22: former finance minister Chidambaram’s wish list’ of 10

As expectation builds up for ‘game changer’ and speculation over abolition of personal income tax, massive direct transfer of benefits reach fever pitch,Chidambaram put forward a more modest wish list

Former Union Minister P Chidambaram (Photo Courtesy: IANS)
Former Union Minister P Chidambaram (Photo Courtesy: IANS)

NH Web Desk

Ahead of the Union Budget, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram has put forward a wish list containing 10 suggestions without any ‘expectation or hope of acknowledgment’. The suggestions were made in his weekly column on Sunday. For the record, he advocates a reduction in GST and taxes on fuel besides a massive dose of Direct Benefit Transfer to the poorest.

Here is the former finance minister’s list:

1. Impart a large fiscal stimulus to the economy, even if it is belated.

2. Make direct cash transfers to 30 per cent of the families at the bottom of the economy for a period of six months and review the situation afterwards.

3. Devise a rescue plan for MSMEs in order to reach pre-slowdown production levels and recover the jobs that were lost.

4. Reduce tax rates, especially the GST rates, and the crippling taxes on petrol and diesel.

5. Increase government’s capital expenditure. In the current year, the capital expenditure of the central government and state governments are falling woefully short of the budgeted amounts.

6. Lending must be increased. Hence, recapitalize public sector banks urgently and encourage them to lend without the fear that every loan will be probed by the investigating agencies.

7. Protectionism is outdated and wrong. Protectionism has hurt Indian industry. A current account surplus in a developing country is not a matter of celebration. Abandon the bias against imports, re-engage with the world and enter into bilateral trade agreements.

8. Formulate sector-specific revival packages for sectors such as Telecommunication, Power, Construction, Mining, Aviation and Travel, Tourism & Hospitality.

9. Review and rescind amendments to tax laws that are widely viewed as tax terrorism.

10. Review the regulations made by various regulatory bodies and correct the effect of over-regulation.

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